[robotics-worldwide] [jobs] 3 Fully Funded PhD Positions at the Cognitive Robotics and Interaction Lab of the Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at the Italian Institute of Technology

Alessandra Sciutti alessandra.sciutti at gmail.com
Wed Apr 27 04:27:12 PDT 2016


Apologies for cross-posting

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PhD Openings at the Cognitive Robotics and Interaction Lab Robotics, Brain
and Cognitive Sciences Department Italian Institute of Technology
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In the spirit of the doctoral School on Bioengineering and Robotics the PhD
Program for the curriculum “Cognitive Robotics, Interaction and
Rehabilitation Technologies” offers interdisciplinary training at the
interface between technology and life-sciences. The objective of the PhD
program is to form scientists and research technologists capable of working
in multidisciplinary teams on projects where human factors play a crucial
role in technological development and design.  Robotics and neuroscience
researchers in RBCS share, as a fundamental scientific objective, the study
of physical and social interaction in humans and machines (www.iit.it/rbcs
).  

Among the different research themes proposed I would like to advertise these
three topics: 
• VISUO-HAPTIC EXPLORATION STRATEGIES FOR OBJECT RECOGNITION 

• MAKE HUMANOIDS UNDERSTAND HUMAN ACTIONS 

• MULTISENSORY HUMAN-ROBOT INTERACTION 

The ideal candidates are students with a higher level university degree
willing to invest extra time and effort in blending into a multidisciplinary
team composed of neuroscientists, engineers, psychologists, physicists
working together to investigate brain functions and realize intelligent
machines, rehabilitation protocols and advanced prosthesis.

The successful candidate will also have the opportunity to spend part of
his/her PhD at the Osaka University and the University of Tokyo in the
framework of the Marie Curie IRSES project CODEFROR (www.codefror.eu) , with
the purpose of integrating his/her knowledge with the different expertise
available at these institutes. 

International applications are encouraged and will receive logistic support
with visa issues, relocation, etc.

Below you can find more details related to the position and the instructions
on how to apply.

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Application deadline: *****10 June 2016, Noon,  Italian time*****
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Best regards,
Alessandra Sciutti

-----------------------------------------
Alessandra Sciutti (PhD)
Researcher, Robotics Brain and Cognitive Sciences Dept. 
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
Via Morego 30, 16163 Genova, Italy
email: alessandra.sciutti at iit.it
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.iit.it_people_alessandra-2Dsciutti&d=CwIFAw&c=clK7kQUTWtAVEOVIgvi0NU5BOUHhpN0H8p7CSfnc_gI&r=0w3solp5fswiyWF2RL6rSs8MCeFamFEPafDTOhgTfYI&m=jTpPpe6J1IsFMILd_7-lh7A_brhuDqdt3gGVSXgthMY&s=_ppKcJUvk4iZXOvmHneEy_LCjZRuLmCnyU1jLC26JGc&e= 


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Make humanoids understand human actions 

Tutors: Dr. Alessandra Sciutti, Dr. Francesco Rea, Prof. Giulio Sandini
Department: RBCS (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia) https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.iit.it_rbcs&d=CwIFAw&c=clK7kQUTWtAVEOVIgvi0NU5BOUHhpN0H8p7CSfnc_gI&r=0w3solp5fswiyWF2RL6rSs8MCeFamFEPafDTOhgTfYI&m=jTpPpe6J1IsFMILd_7-lh7A_brhuDqdt3gGVSXgthMY&s=7O1XdK6SEblIiaaKURCXJqVVqFPTDfTE5OePFAMeFH0&e= 
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Description: 
Action understanding is a fundamental ability at the basis of human
interaction. Neurophysiological evidence indicate that it is supported by a
visuo-motor matching process: action observation activates in the observer a
motor representation of the same action learned through execution, which
yields to a rapid and automatic understanding of the action goal. Hence,
visual action understanding requires a sensori-motor representation of the
action, built by  performing it and learning its motor and sensory
consequences. 
The general aim of this project will be to provide the humanoid robot iCub
with a similar visuo-motor matching skill in order to endow it with a
human-like ability to understand human actions. In particular the robot will
have to learn the motor (efference copy) and sensory (visual, joint angles,
forces) consequences of its own actions to build a complete action
representation. The research should determine which are the visual
information needed to allow the recall of this model when the robot observes
the same action performed by someone else. The work might take advantage of
a computational system already available on the robot designed to localize
the portion of the scene containing biological motion and extract some of
its visual features . 

The successful candidate will also have the opportunity to spend part of
his/her PhD at the Osaka University and the University of Tokyo in the
framework of the Marie Curie IRSES project CODEFROR, with the purpose of
integrating his/her knowledge with the different expertise available at
these institutes. 

Requirements:  degree in robotics, bioengineering, computer science,
computer engineering, or related disciplines, attitude for problem solving,
c++ programming. A background on machine learning is an asset. 

References: 
•             Sciutti A., Ansuini C., Becchio C. & Sandini G. 2015,
‘Investigating the ability to read others’ intentions using humanoid
robots’, Frontiers in Psychology – Cognitive Science, vol. 6,no. 1362
•             Noceti N., Sciutti A. & Sandini G. 2015, ‘Cognition helps
vision: recognizing biological motion using invariant dynamic cues’, 18th
International Conference on Image Analysis and Processing.
•             Rizzolatti G, Craighero L. 2004 The mirror-neuron system. Annu
Rev Neurosci 27:169–192

Contacts: Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the perspective
tutors before they submit their application: alessandra.sciutti at iit.it,
francesco.rea at iit.it , giulio.sandini at iit.it

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Multisensory human-robot interaction        

Tutors: Dr. Francesco Rea,  Dr. Alessandra Sciutti, Prof. Giulio Sandini
Department: RBCS (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia) 
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.iit.it_rbcs&d=CwIFAw&c=clK7kQUTWtAVEOVIgvi0NU5BOUHhpN0H8p7CSfnc_gI&r=0w3solp5fswiyWF2RL6rSs8MCeFamFEPafDTOhgTfYI&m=jTpPpe6J1IsFMILd_7-lh7A_brhuDqdt3gGVSXgthMY&s=7O1XdK6SEblIiaaKURCXJqVVqFPTDfTE5OePFAMeFH0&e= 
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Description: 
Humans interact with each other by exploiting a variety of communicative
cues across many different sensory channels. Communication signals range
from speech to sounds in the auditory domain, from gestures to facial
expressions in the visual domain and to different types of physical contacts
in the haptic domain. Moreover, these signals can be explicitly
communicative, as pointing or waving, or implicit and unconscious, as gaze
direction or body movements speed. 
The activity we propose is to endow the humanoid robot iCub with a library
of sensory and motor skills supporting all these communication
possibilities. The robot will have first to detect the presence of a
potential human partner nearby and then establish a communication with him
by making use of  these multisensory cues. The research will leverage on the
current social capabilities of the robot iCub, as gaze tracking,  biological
motion detection, biologically plausible motion generation, etc.  The
selected candidate will have to integrate the existing skills and develop
the missing abilities, in order to enable iCub to interact naturally with
non-expert users across multiple sensory domains. 

The successful candidate will also have the opportunity to spend part of
his/her PhD at the Osaka University and the University of Tokyo in the
framework of the Marie Curie IRSES project CODEFROR, with the purpose of
integrating his/her knowledge with the different expertise available at
these institutes. 

Requirements: Degree in robotics, bioengineering, computer science, computer
engineering, or related disciplines, attitude for problem solving, c++
programming, as also willingness to make experiments with human
participants. Strong motivation to work and adapt to a multidisciplinary
environment. 

References:.
•             Palinko O., Sciutti A., Rea F. & Sandini G., 2015, ‘Eye Gaze
Tracking for a Humanoid Robot’ in IEEE/RAS International Conference of
Humanoids Robotics, Seoul, Korea, November 3-5 2015.
•             Mosadeghzad M., Rea F., Tata M., Brayda L. & Sandini G. 2015,
‘Saliency Based Sensor Fusion of Broadband Sound Localizer for Humanoids’,
2015 IEEE International Conference on Multisensor Fusion and Information
Integration (MFI 2015), San Diego, CA, USA, September 14-16, 2015;
•             Sciutti A., Patanè L., Nori F. & Sandini G., 2014,
‘Understanding object weight from human and humanoid lifting actions’, IEEE
Transactions on Autonomous Mental Development, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 80-92 doi:
10.1109/TAMD.2014.2312399 

Contacts: Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the perspective
tutors before they submit their application: francesco.rea at iit.it ,
alessandra.sciutti at iit.it, giulio.sandini at iit.it

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Visuo-haptic exploration strategies for object recognition

Tutors: Dr. Alessandra Sciutti, Dr. Francesco Rea, Prof. Giulio Sandini
Department: RBCS (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia)
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.iit.it_rbcs&d=CwIFAw&c=clK7kQUTWtAVEOVIgvi0NU5BOUHhpN0H8p7CSfnc_gI&r=0w3solp5fswiyWF2RL6rSs8MCeFamFEPafDTOhgTfYI&m=jTpPpe6J1IsFMILd_7-lh7A_brhuDqdt3gGVSXgthMY&s=7O1XdK6SEblIiaaKURCXJqVVqFPTDfTE5OePFAMeFH0&e= 
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Description:
In everyday situations human adults are capable of transferring information
about objects from one sensory modality to the other. Objects explored
visually can, at a later time, be analyzed, and recognized, by exploring
them with our hands and, vice versa, we can visually recognize objects that
have been previously explored haptically. This cross-modal transfer can be
explained only through the use of a representation of objects merging visual
and haptic information and perhaps by hypothesizing a shared exploratory
strategy used when we explore objects visually or haptically. The main
scientific objective of the project is to test this hypothesis by
investigating how the transfer of information form one sensory modality to
the other develops in humans and if different sensory channels share the
same exploration strategy. A model of this ability could be implemented on
the humanoid robot iCub to build and exploit a multisensory representation
of manipulable objects, augmenting its ability to learn how to interact with
the environment and with others.  The successful candidate will conduct
experimental investigation of  human visuo-haptic explorative strategies by
means of multiple techniques, as eye-tracking, motion capture and force
measurements with ad hoc designed devices. The collected data will be used
to model the exploration strategies both during healthy development and in
presence of sensory deficits.

The successful candidate will also have the opportunity to spend part of
his/her PhD at the Osaka University and the University of Tokyo in the
framework of the Marie Curie IRSES project CODEFROR, with the purpose of
integrating his/her knowledge with the different expertise available at
these institutes. 

Requirements: The candidate for this position must have either a degree in
Computer Science Engineering, Bioengineering or equivalent, with high
interests in human sciences, or alternatively a degree in Psychology, with
proven background in programming toolboxes (Matlab, R). 

References:. 
•             Gori M., Sciutti A., Burr D. & Sandini G. 2011, ‘Direct and
indirect haptic calibration of visual size judgments’, PLoS ONE, vol. 6,no.
10, e25599. [
•             Sann, C. and Streri, A. (2007), Perception of object shape and
texture in human newborns: evidence from cross-modal transfer tasks.
Developmental Science, 10: 399–410. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2007.00593.x
•             Gori, M., Del Viva, M., Sandini, G., & Burr, D. C. (2008).
Young children do not integrate visual and haptic form information. Current
Biology, 18(9), 694-698.

Contacts: Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the perspective
tutors before they submit their application: alessandra.sciutti at iit.it,
francesco.rea at iit.it , giulio.sandini at iit.it

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How to apply
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Please note that the positions are available through the PhD course of
Bioengineering and Robotics, curriculum on Cognitive Robotics, Interaction
and Rehabilitation Technologies, offered jointly by IIT and the University
of Genoa. 

The official calls are available here: https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.iit.it_phd-2Dschool&d=CwIFAw&c=clK7kQUTWtAVEOVIgvi0NU5BOUHhpN0H8p7CSfnc_gI&r=0w3solp5fswiyWF2RL6rSs8MCeFamFEPafDTOhgTfYI&m=jTpPpe6J1IsFMILd_7-lh7A_brhuDqdt3gGVSXgthMY&s=MLEBV1Xzd7ulK0DZJq7MpmQAQ9Tm_Zyouz8cHvrnoLU&e=   
under the section “Research themes for the call for application to PhD
Courses established in agreement with the Università degli Studi di Genova,
XXXII cycle”. 
Please have a look at the "tips and tricks" section which contains detailed
instructions on how to apply and a list of documents you have to present. 

The link to the on-line application page is:
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.studenti.unige.it_postlaurea_dottorati_XXXII_&d=CwIFAw&c=clK7kQUTWtAVEOVIgvi0NU5BOUHhpN0H8p7CSfnc_gI&r=0w3solp5fswiyWF2RL6rSs8MCeFamFEPafDTOhgTfYI&m=jTpPpe6J1IsFMILd_7-lh7A_brhuDqdt3gGVSXgthMY&s=1IxkGu-pUqpzIrNgL33HIxgm13ImGXfGGG87cq4ozC0&e=   
In case of problems or questions related to the application procedure,
please contact: anastasia.bruzzone at iit.it  

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Application deadline: *****10 June 2016, Noon,  Italian time******
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